A petition is calling for Auckland Libraries to remove a book which advocates smacking children and has been linked to deaths of children in the United States.
To Train up a Child by fundamentalist Christians Michael and Debi Pearl advises parents to begin "switching" their children with sticks when they are babies to teach them to obey.
The book also suggests parents train their children by hitting them with plastic tubes, withholding food and hosing off children who have toileting accidents.
The book has been linked to the deaths of three children in the United States whose parents were said to be following its advice.
A petition at change.org asking for Auckland Libraries to remove the book was started on Friday and had gained about 1500 signatures by Saturday afternoon.
"This book is well known in child advocacy circles as a book which specifically trains parents how to abuse their children [in the name of discipline]," petition organiser Eileen Joy says.
In a statement on Facebook Auckland Libraries regional collections manager Louise LaHatte says: "We acknowledge this book is divisive and people may find its content offensive."
However, the library had a commitment to the principle of freedom of access to information, she said.
Ms LaHatte said the book had not been banned or restricted by the Office of Film and Literature Classification NZ, but members of the public could ask the organisation to classify the work.
The Department of Internal Affairs' Censorship Compliance Unit assessed the book in 2011 and decided not to ban or restrict it.
Many Facebook users questioned why the library would stock a book which encourages an illegal behaviour.
"Would you stock a book that teaches husbands how to keep their wives in line by beating them??? This book promotes child abuse - Auckland Libraries please send the message that Family Violence is Not Ok!!" Emily Newman wrote.
The book's authors deny it can trigger abusive behaviour.
source: newshub archive